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Wait No More Montreal

Using the steely focus that has defined her legendary career, Venus Williams made a successful debut at Stade Uniprix.
Using the steely focus that has defined her legendary career, Venus Williams made a successful debut at Stade Uniprix.
Kenny Evabs

With a career spanning two decades, Venus Williams kept the. It's that host the Coupe Rogers at Stade Uniprix waiting as she finally made her debut in Montreal. One would think that Williams would have breezed through her Russian opponent, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but that was the total opposite. Williams kept the Canadian city on the edge of its seat, waiting and hoping to see that big grin that Williams wears after every victory.

Williams received quite a reception from the crowd and she seemed ignited by that because she was on fire from the first ball. She clocked forehands, fired three aces, and scampered around her court like the Venus Williams of the early 2000's. Everyone knows, including Williams herself, that if she plays anywhere near her best tennis that she's all but unbeatable; she's truly one of those rare special talents that comes around once or twice a generation. Watching Williams throughout the first set was lyrical, and as the first set rapidly came to a close, everyone at Stade Uniprix quickly remembers how good that 34 year old legend still is.

Even in the second set, Williams was able to maintain her high level of play, but her Russian counterpart wasn't taking things lying down anymore and she made life very difficult for the American. Williams would create a plethora of opportunities all throughout the set only to fall short and eventually expend quite a bit of energy. As things progressed, slowly and fiercely, Williams became increasingly annoyed and somewhat fatigued by the lengthy duration of the games and by how many chance she had let slip by the waist side. After three consecutive breaks of serve, Venus saw herself staring down the bottom of a barrel in her Montreal debut; Pavlyuchenkova went on to capture the second set and force a decider.

The final set picked up right where the second set left offs; Venus would constantly create opportunities but would get snuffed out by some good tennis by Pavlyuchenkova or some error strewn tennis by herself. But being the wily veteran she is, Williams kept pressing foreword and eventually got that elusive break of serve and she never looked back. Williams would run away with the final set, breaking Pavlyuchenkova again to close and seal her first win not just at Stade Uniprix, but her first win in canada in general.

You know, all in all, it was a well played match from Venus Williams against a very tricky opponent, especially someone who's beaten her twice on hard courts. Venus moves on to the second round where she'll play the young qualifier Yulia Putintseva. But for now, congrats to Venus for having a winning debut at the Coupe Rogers.